The Denison Pequotsepos/Coogan Farm Nature and Heritage Center has revamped its Homeschool STEM program to better serve its students and families and to accommodate the recent growth the program has seen.

The Nature Center has been offering a monthly homeschool STEM class for more than a decade. Last year a second class each month was added because of increased demand. In advance of the 2016-17 school year, the program has been reorganized to better meet the needs of the students who attend. The program continues to meet CT and RI science education standards.

The 2016-17 Homeschool program now offers three age groups, each of which will offer age- and developmentally appropriate curricula. The groups are:

Little Explorers (ages 4-6):  A program designed with our youngest learners in mind, we will explore natural themes with creative play, songs, storytime, and crafts.  We’ll spend time outside when the weather is nice, using our senses to discover the plants and animals that live right around the nature center.  Maximum capacity 10 students.  DPNC provides snacks for Little Explorers.

Scientists (ages 7-9):  It’s a wide world out there, and we are going to learn as much as we can about it!  Students will be guided through the scientific process, with a new topic of inquiry each session.  Create hypotheses, conduct experiments, and get ready to make some awesome discoveries!  We’ll explore the fields, forests and wetlands to gain inspiration for our STEM experiments, letting our natural curiosities guide the way.

Eco Engineers (ages 10+):  Our oldest homeschool students will enjoy this program designed specifically with their interests in mind.  Learn the science behind why plants and animals behave the way they do.  Make tools out of natural materials, create a dam in the stream and study the effect it has on the surrounding ecosystem, and conduct other STEM experiments that focus on the natural world and problem solving for the future.  Fun, recreational activities include hiking, orienteering with a map and compass, team building games, and more!

Also, DPNC has added a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, math) weekly class. Natural Art with Nature Nik meets Thursday mornings beginning Sept. 8 at Coogan Farm. Using STEAM standards and artistic principles, we will fuse art and nature together to make new masterpieces and inventions to enhance our imaginations and point of view of nature.  Activity examples: creative play (making our own games), art projects we can take out on the trail, using natural materials to create.  Each class will have a nature lesson included. Registration can be found on our website calendar.  

The regular Homeschool program meets the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of every month from September to June (the full schedule is available on our website). The cost is $15/class, and a Nature Center family membership is required. The Natural Art with Nature Nik class is $10/session, and does not require a family membership. It is open to the public, but geared to meet CT and RI educational standards for homeschoolers.